New RYA Foundation Youth Fund supports young sailors


A new fund from the RYA Foundation has been set up to aid young people in reaching their full potential in sailing.

The RYA Foundation Youth Fund was gifted with the funds remaining when the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) was closed in October 2022. The fund is open to committed sailors under 25, who do not have the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals.

Grant applications can be made to help with the purchases of boats and related equipment, payment for courses or coaching qualifications, and travel expenses, entry fees, accommodation, squad membership and other expenses.

Debbie Blachford, chair of the Foundation Trustees comments: “This new fund is a first for the RYA Foundation which traditionally awards grants to groups rather than individuals.

“We’re delighted to open opportunities for young people who are committed to the sport but lack the funds to realise their potential. We know there are a lot of individuals and projects that need funding, but we don’t always get to hear about them”.

Will Dyson, 17, from the North-West was the first beneficiary of this new fund. A grant made it possible for him to compete at the July 2023 ILCA 6 Youth Europeans in Poland. 

“It’s the biggest event I have ever done by far,” says Dyson. “There were 383 boats there from over 40 different countries, so it was very diverse with a broad range of sailors. It was amazing fun and helped me as a sailor.

“Funding makes a difference, especially for sailors from a background where maybe they don’t have as much money as others. They can still go to events, and it removes the financial barriers”.

The RYA Foundation says it gives grants to provide boating opportunities for those in need by reason of age, ill-health, disability, financial or other disadvantage and, since its creation in 2013, it has helped nearly 15,000 people get out on the water.

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